I am done!

Submitted by Nina Lukaszewicz on 7/2/06 at 11:12 AM. ( nal2009@zoominternet.net )

My parents have shut down my taxidermy shop! I am done! I thought I was going to pursue my dreams and try to stick with it. Now they are telling me that I am not allowed to do taxidermy anymore because the chemicals in the shop downstairs aren't safe and it's getting everyone sick. I don't know what to do. This is my life, my hobby. I tried to get my mom to consider a second chance by putting a door on my shop and installing a fan system to get rid of chemical fumes, but they just don't care. They want me to do taxidermy in the horse barn. Now, who does taxidermy in an old dusty barn? There's no lighting in there, it's old and dusty, no way! I just can't stand it anymore. If anyone wants to give a few suggestions or try to make me change my mind about this, go ahead. I don't know what to do anymore.


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This response submitted by George on 7/2/06 at 11:23 AM. ( georoof@aol.com )

I can't imagine what kind of "chemicals" you're using that would have begun this process. There are so many safe, unobtrustive products out there today that chemical smells shouldn't be expected in ANY shop. Maybe it's the Bondo and the lacquer paints, but those, too, have safer alternatives.

As far as the barn, I assure you, many of us have worked in worse places. As a kid, I'd have loved to have been given the barn. Half the stuff I did was on a picnic table in the yard and my "tanning vat" was an old porcelein wash tub setting under a lean-to implement shed. In the early 70's after working out of a 6x8 utility shed, I'll never forget all the huge space I had when I bout a 10x10 vaulted roof shed to work out of. Temperature was never a problem as it was always hot in the summer and freezing cold in the winter. I used shop, drop-lights in all those places.

I think your parents were pretty accommodating and an adventurous young person as yourself should have no problems fixing the barn up to where you'd have your own private world to escape to. That can be just as much excitement as doing taxidermy work if you lay out a plan, modify the area like you want, and then have a claim to ownership as well. Good luck.

how bad do you want it?

This response submitted by Rick Krane on 7/2/06 at 12:21 PM. ( rmkinc1@msn.com )

It is only over when you say it is! it is in your blood girl!

Nina you poor girl welcome to the growing pains of the forbidden arts of taxidermy LOL! I can totally relate to your plight. I started my quest many many moons ago in what seems to be a galaxy far far away on my grand mothers kitchen table at night after every one was a sleep at the age 14. We had a deal and as long as I could be totally clean and there wasn't any fish smell she would be ok with it. But as you can imagine even in the perfect world it is taxidermy after all and the inherent odors as careful as we are do present from time to time. LOL. So my dear I went from a kitchen table to a basement, to the corner of the garage to neighbors fathers wood shed to final in a old barn (with bats no electric or water. But a few long walks to get my bucket filled and a few long extension cords I was back in business!

My belabored point is Nina we who are still here today after all these years and some who are just getting going like your self all have 2 things in common. First would be the passion and the drive to hang in there and do what is in your blood to do. And second we as taxidermist learn to over come and accept the first and the many struggles to do our beloved craft.

Think out of the box my dear! Maybe you can do some work for your patents friends who may e able to help you fix up a nice space for you. Maybe your family will see what drive you have and maybe they will help you fix the barn too.

Hang in there kiddo! You'll make it if you hang in there!

My best!

Rick Krane
Anglers Artistry
312 Chesterfield Rd
Hinsdale NH 03451

It's ok now

This response submitted by Nina Lukaszewicz on 7/2/06 at 1:11 PM. ( nal2009@zoominternet.net )

Everything's fine now, all talked over and my dad might give me a second chance if I take everything out of the shop and clean again and this time keep it clean.

My parents both got a cold this past week and were blaming it on me and my shop. I still don't get it.

I might even just try to fix up the barn instead of using my old shop. It's a lot bigger and if I can get concrete floors in there with good lighting, I'll be set.


This response submitted by joeym on 7/2/06 at 2:54 PM. ( joeym@ra.msstate.edu )

I would look at the barn, especially if it has a good roof. You could start with a small space...If you had to use plastic drop cloth to create a working space. For the floors, look at the black mesh material used in greenhouses. Work toward improving on that, in time you could gradually improve and expand. Most of us could fill a barn with all the things we stash in the name of taxidermy

I agree with Rick..

This response submitted by Randal R. Waites on 7/2/06 at 3:03 PM. ( rwenglish1@aol.com )

I agree with Rick, if it is in you, it's not over till the heart stops. As for odors, you have just been given a wake call and lesson by your parents. Take what you think to be a negative and change that situation to a positive.

If it was a customer with two of his buddies who left your shop, and started telling other potential customers of the odors were bad and that they would never go back to you again.
Then finally months later the word gets back to you. It wouldn't matter how bad you have it in you, now you have created yourself another hill to climb back over


I feel for ya, Nina

This response submitted by Amy Ritchie on 7/2/06 at 3:07 PM. ( Amy@Amystaxidermy.com )

When I had only been doing taxidermy for about a year, my parents did the same exact thing. I was working out of a spare room in our house .. it's hard to have a shop inside the home. My little sister got a sore throat and mom blamed it on me. She was mad because of the bondo and fiberglass resin I was using. It tended to creep into the air conditioning vents and the smell would be distributed around the entire house. I guess she did have a reason to be mad.

Are these the kind of smells they're upset about? Then perhaps you could offer to do those types of projects outside. I got to where I would build my habitats outside, or in the barn (during the winter). Rather than use bondo, I switched to earliners for deer ears and mache for covering the skull cap. So I did the smelly stuff outside, and the mounting inside.

Other than the resins and stuff like that, there shouldn't be any strong smells since the safe tanning chemicals we use today don't have much smell. And as long as you keep your fleshing setup clean, that shouldn't smell either.

I certainly hope your parents reconsider because I know how devastating it can be when parents put their foot down about something. If you do end up having to work out in the barn, just do your best. If you truly love taxidermy I know you will make it work. I worked in a barn for six months after I moved, before I had time to find a new shop. It was difficult but you learn to work with what you have to work with.

Good luck..


This response submitted by Old Fart on 7/2/06 at 3:09 PM. ( )

...Cause colds, not anything that you have in the taxidermy shop. And I'm not talking the kind of virus that you can get on your computer. There could be some alergy problems with some of the stuff you use, but this time of year it would be hard to prove.

Been there done that too

This response submitted by Cecil on 7/2/06 at 4:03 PM. ( )

After fumigating the house with a lacquer smell and hearing "Oh My God,! Oh My God!" over and over from my mom (back when I lived at home) I was involuntarily moved out to the garage. It's amazing how creative you can get if you have to. Did you know clear coats set up really, really slow in below freezing temps but a way around that is to start up the car, warm it up and put the fish in there to dry? LOL

My parents did help me fix up a section of it later and I have nothing but gratitude to my parents.

Sounds to me like you have very good parents for reconsidering. They really don't sound that bad. My dad had his car taken away by his dad just because some gossipy biddys were sure they saw him drinking beer. (Wasn't true at all) He worked really hard at a foundry to get that car and it was taken away from him in an instant. He ended up joining the military. His dad did apologize on his death bed later but it sounds like your parents aren't that extreme.

always remember one thing

This response submitted by DaveT on 7/2/06 at 6:05 PM. ( )

Honor thy mother and father.. as a praent I can assure you, try as we might, we don't always know or do what is right but in most cases everything is done with the best intentions.

Taxidermy in the scheme of life is very insignificant, it will come and go, your parents are there always. Your day will come to choose your own path (not as easy as it seems either) until then submit yourself to the will of your parents and remember they see things and know things that are not even on your radar scope yet.


I work in our barn

This response submitted by Jessica on 7/2/06 at 8:12 PM. ( horseelady_jessie@yahoo.com )

It's not the best but it's a place to work. I do all my fleshing and what not out there. Light is for crap and I have to run an extension cord if I want to do anything. My dad loves my work but dosn't like to watch me ripping meat of skins. He'll watch me put it all together all day long but anything before that, forget it. I tan my hides in the house but I use rhineharts tanning cream so it dosn't stink or anything. I'd like to set up a shop in the barn, least I would have some where to work and do every thing instead of working on what ever I can find to set something on. Best of luck to you! Hope it works out

start drinking

This response submitted by Hogger on 7/3/06 at 12:45 AM. ( )

and playing rock music! Then thank Mom and Dad for opening your eyes to how much a waste of time taxidermy was and how you've found your new nitch! LOL! Just kidding of course.

Seems like alot of us are in they same boat...

This response submitted by PLTannery on 7/3/06 at 9:59 AM. ( shelby@promiselandranch.net )

Seems like all of us who share homes/workshops with our parents end up having trouble. My parents allowed me to pay for my tanning class and all necessary tannery equipment out of my college money but I had my shop open less than 2 months before I got chewed out for getting the floor wet. My shop is the other half of my mom's shop it has a small insulated room and an open area with a large rollup door where I would salt hides and my tumblers were. I knew that my room had to be properly vented to remove the formic acid fumes so I put in two fans, one small fan that runs 24/7 and another large fan that will exchange the air in the room in about 3 minutes for when I mix pickles, pull hides up or need to move the fumes. One day out of the blue I was told that my business was destroying the building, and that in 10 years or so we would have to build a new building. I was told that I needed to get a steel storage container to house my vats and salt my hides so that I would destory that instead of the building. This would mean that I would have to drain hides and cart them over the gravel (or in the winter over 4-6 feet of snow that had slid off the roof) into the heated area of my shop to shave them. We are still working out the kinks... but it means I have to use under vat heaters... Anyone had experience with these?

Good luck with your parents, the people above have made some great suggestions. Remember you can get a mechanics light or something similar for $10-15 and an extension cord for $20-40 and be back in business in the barn.

Don't give up with what you really like doing.

Promise Land Tannery


This response submitted by breck on 7/3/06 at 12:09 PM. ( )

Sounds like we all have common beginings like Nina. I started at age 12 on my mom's dining room table and was quickly relocated to our cab-over camper. When my Dad poured a cement slab and placed a tin "tool" shed on it, my Mom urged him to give it to me. I later took over his garage.
Hogger's comment was "tongue-in-cheek" but I would let your parents read it so that they could count their blessings. When I was newlywed my wife would constantly complain about my frequent hunts (near home) until my Mom said to her "it could be worse, he could be chasing skirts in some bar instead of shooting ducks" she saw the light and stopped complaining, in fact she is very supportive of my hunts and even urges me to buy a quad, but I don't want to spend 7 grand just yet.


This response submitted by 9 on 7/4/06 at 9:26 PM. ( )

When I was younger then your age to your age, my passion was rock music, and my parents destroyed that passion not once but 3 times. I learned to hide things.

Keep your work very low key. If you are on summer break, work all night, sleep all day. Stay out of their hair. Do all your stinky work under the exhaust hood on the stove or outside. It's so unfortunate that your parents would drive a wedge between you and them when you are a teenager, when most kids look to their folks for guidance.

A horse barn would be SUPER - it's big, airy, you can make smells and noises in it (it's a barn!) and while it's not secure or bug-proof... most houses aren't bug-proof either. Just make sure it's well ventilated and well heated.
I used to use my barn as my carcass pit. It kept all the nosey PEOPLE out :)

DaveT, you are incorrect. Many children are without parents - the parents die, or abandon the kids, or abuse them so badly that the kids become distrustful 'islands' that don't relate well to 'parent' figures. If it was only as easy as simply honoring the father and mother. If Nina is not Christian, her religion may not instruct her to honor her parents (even if they are mean) -- keep that also in mind.

Extension cord for $20?! You can get a 50' for $5.99 at Harbor Freight... good luck Nina. Keep us posted.


This response submitted by DaveT on 7/5/06 at 8:04 PM. ( )

It is you who were wrong I believe the young lady herself claimed her parents were still around. I really don't care what her "religion" is, truth is truth and honoring your parents transcends human logic.


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